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φάλαγξ). The Greek term for the order of battle in which heavy infantry were drawn up, in an unbroken line, several ranks deep. (See Exercitus.) The most famous phalanx was that formed by King Philip, constituting the chief strength of the Macedonian army. It was first eight, afterwards twelve to sixteen deep. In the eight-rank formation, the lances (σάρισσαι) being eighteen feet long, those of all ranks could be presented to the enemy. They were grasped with the right hand at the butt, and, with the left, four feet from the butt end; hence, the lances of the first rank projected fourteen feet, while the spear-heads of the last rank were level with, or just in front of, the men in the front rank. In the deeper formation, and after the reduction of the length of the sarissa to fourteen feet, only the first five ranks presented their weapons to the front; the rest held them slanting over the shoulders of their comrades in front. The name phalanx, or τάξις, was also applied to the separate regiments of the φαλαγγῖται. The line of each such phalanx was divided, from front to rear, into four chiliarchies (χιλιαρχίαι), each chiliarchy into four syntagmata (συντάγματα), each syntagma into four tetrarchies (τετραρχίαι). The importance of this formation lay in its power of resistance to hostile onset, and in the weight with which it fell, when impelled against the enemy's lines. Its weaknesses were want of mobility, the impossibility of changing front in face of the enemy, and unsuitability for close, hand-to-hand engagement. The Roman legions also fought in phalanx in the older times before Camillus. Under the emperors the phalanx was used, after about the second century A.D., in fighting against barbaric nations.

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